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Thread: Profiling a color laser printer?

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    Veteran Member AJLynn's Avatar
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    Default Profiling a color laser printer?

    My office has one of those do-everything Canon color/b&w printer/scanner/copier commercial-grade things that everybody uses these days, as well as a Canon color plotter (an IPF760, IIRC) and an assortment of LCDs, and none of this has ever been calibrated.

    I assume I can get the LCDs and the plotter done without much trouble, but has anybody got experience in successfully calibrating a Canon laser printer? Can I use, say a ColorMunki Design (or is there any particular calibrator that's best with that laser printer glossy finish) and can I expect decent results? (Where "decent" could range from "can print photos and renders at presentation quality" down to "good enough for printing site plans so that my greens don't come out blue.")

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    Moderator Frosty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    Oh boy do I need to follow this thread. Same boat with crappy LCDs and HP plotter and a Kyocera do it all machine.
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    Veteran Member AJLynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    Oh, and FWIW the laser printer is an Image Runner Advance C5035.

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    Veteran Member ELEVATION's Avatar
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    Default Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    Do you have a Fiery on your Canon? We have an ir5030 with an imagepass b-1 Fiery. I calibrate and profile it regularly with an x-rite eye one. Let me know a little more about your printer and I can walk you through our process.

    As for the quality of color. It's good. Not great. Our color plotter (HPz3200 is the bee's knees) but I have no problem presenting a project where some of the printing was done on the plotter and some done on the calibrated canon. I wouldn't say the same thing about the other business class color copiers around the office.
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    Member vincentg87's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    I'm lucky that the colour on my work monitor almost matches the print outs on my office printer. My biggest issue was outsourcing prints bigger than A3 size. The colours were off by so much we had to personally go down and "reverse engineer" the colour balance using the pc in the printer shops

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    Veteran Member AJLynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    It doesn't have Fiery, just the base model (with whatever Copitrak adds to the front end).

    Vincent, I know what you mean - I've always had problems with outsourced printing, even with my end of things calibrated well. Everybody assumes all professional printing people know everything about printing anything, but really there's a big difference between running a shop that specializes in producing hundreds of bid sets from CAD drawings and doing photo quality printing.

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    Veteran Member ELEVATION's Avatar
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    Default Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    Without the fiery you will be somewhat limited in your ability to manage color at the printer. But I'll offer up the advice that I can.

    You'll need to determine if your printer is an RGB printer or a CMYK printer. This sounds stupid but trust me, it's important. Most non-postscript print drivers are RGB. That means if you send CMYK data to it, the file will get converted to RGB and then back to CMYK at the printer. This is bad.

    It's easy to test though. In photoshop create an CMYK document that is grayscale ramp (only K channel). Print it on your printer and examine the print, if you see dots which are CM or Y you've got an RGB printer. This means that your workflow should be exclusively RGB.

    Your Canon will still have an internal calibration process. Usually, it prints something and you throw it on the scanner, it scans then prints again, you'll do this a few times and the calibration is complete. Next you need to profile it.

    I have no experience with the color monkey but I'll explain how it works with our eye one. There is a calibration program from which you will print an icc profile target (when you print, you need to disable all of the color management options and any existing icc profile). You will then scan the profile with your photospectrometer. Your calibration program will then create an icc profile which typically gets placed in your system 32/spool/printers/color (something like that) folder. The Adobe apps can typically read from that and the driver will too.

    Where you can run into problems is when the driver uses the icc profile and then your Adobe app does too so you get double color management...which is not correct. So typically, I turn the color management off at the driver level and do it all from my apps. This is a problem for folks printing from Word or windows photoviewer because those applications are not color managed and need the driver level color management.

    In your driver color management or your printer color management you are going to have an option of "rendering intent". The options are: perceptual (sometimes called photos), saturation (sometimes called graphics), relative colormetric or absolute colormetric. With the first two options the color management engine will change all of your colors, no bones about it. With relative colormetric (my preference) the engine will only change colors which are outside the gamut of the printer. With absolute colormetric it will not change colors at all. So relative colormetric is the way to go.

    Getting back to the color monkey and RGB v CMYK stuff. The nice thing about the eyeone is that if eventually you do have a printer with a fiery it will have a calibration routine designed for the eye one. I'm on my second fiery and this has been the case with both, neither has had a routine for the color monkey.

    When you order your profiling software they are likely to have packages based on your profiling needs. So you might not need all the bells and whistles if your printer is RGB (CMYK profiling is typically more expensive).

    I'm sure this is all going to read as verbal diarrhea, I've put tons of time into learning about this and it interests no one. Therefore I get really excited when I have a chance to talk about it. If you would like any clarification, please let me know.

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    Default Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    Thanks, Matt. That's very helpful (and I had no idea how messed up it all is). I tried printing a CMYK file with a B/W gradient and the result was splotchy, streaky and too blue. I used the internal auto adjust features and now my printout is still streaky and a bit splotchy but less blue, so that's an improvement.

    Does streakiness mean a cleaning is needed?

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    Veteran Member ELEVATION's Avatar
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    Default Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    Yeah, the streakiness indicates it is time for a servicing. Probably one of the rollers or drums are bad and will have to be replaced. We lease ours and the maintenance is folded into the lease. Those parts can be expensive so you might want to find out how the maintenance is handled at your place.

    The blue print also suggests that the driver is RGB but just to be sure, grab a magnifying glass from one of the old timers around there and see if you can see any cyan, magenta or yellow dots.
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    Member vincentg87's Avatar
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    Default Re: Profiling a color laser printer?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJLynn View Post
    It doesn't have Fiery, just the base model (with whatever Copitrak adds to the front end).

    Vincent, I know what you mean - I've always had problems with outsourced printing, even with my end of things calibrated well. Everybody assumes all professional printing people know everything about printing anything, but really there's a big difference between running a shop that specializes in producing hundreds of bid sets from CAD drawings and doing photo quality printing.
    exactly. Though I know a shop that does high quality printing, meaning I could just email them and have the print come out in almost perfect colours, they're like 4 times the price of the normal printing shops !

    Quote Originally Posted by ELEVATION View Post
    Yeah, the streakiness indicates it is time for a servicing. Probably one of the rollers or drums are bad and will have to be replaced. We lease ours and the maintenance is folded into the lease. Those parts can be expensive so you might want to find out how the maintenance is handled at your place.

    The blue print also suggests that the driver is RGB but just to be sure, grab a magnifying glass from one of the old timers around there and see if you can see any cyan, magenta or yellow dots.

    I'm not facing any problems with my office printer now, but know that one day when I absolute need to find out how to calibrate a canon printer I'll come back here and read. Then everything you wrote will make sense to me.

    Just wanna thank you for the informative comments.
    cheers!

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